In some cases, the “collector” has detailed information about the victim – such as name, address and Social Security number – which makes the debt appear to be real.
By the way, you can’t be arrested simply because you can’t afford to pay a debt.
This is where things, however can get a bit tricky.
I was talking to a friend the other day and she is in the midst of rebuilding her credit after her credit rating had fallen quite low due to various financial difficulties.
For example, the first citation, Leeker & Carlozzi, points to the further reading section.